IoT News Roundup

Ericsson announces new IoT-focused products; Sensoria updates sensor module, rolls out new features; Lux Research spotlights power-sipping sensors; ZigBee Alliance and Thread expand collaborations; new IoT chips from RFaxis; Gimbal and Couchbase enable cellular-free apps.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor

ZigBee Alliance and Thread Deepen Standards Collaboration

In other IoT standardization news, last week the ZigBee Alliance and Thread Group announced a new step in their efforts to streamline their disparate technology standards. The ZigBee Alliance, a nonprofit industry organization that sets communication and interoperability standards for sensors compliant with the IEEE 802.15.4 standard, and the Thread Group, an industry group that last summer introduced the Thread 6LoWPAN-based mesh-networking standard, say they are developing an end-to-end solution for IP-based IoT networks. The new solution will combine the Thread Group's Internet Protocol (IP) networking layer with the ZigBee Alliance's Common Applications Library.

"Members will be able to leverage their investments in ZigBee technology across new applications and more homes and businesses," says Mark Walters, the ZigBee Alliance's VP of strategic development, "expanding their market opportunities as the Alliance continues to broaden its portfolio and drive industry-wide standards unification opportunities for the IoT.

The two groups announced plans in April 2015 to enable ZigBee products to run Thread's mesh-network protocol via the ZigBee Cluster Library application layer. The Alliance says that integration will be completed by the end of this year. The groups' plan to co develop an end-to-end solution for IP-based IoT networks will expand on that collaboration by offering two complete bottom-to-top solutions that share a common IEEE 802.15.4 radio platform and a common ZigBee Consolidated Applications Library. However, Walters says, while some specific ZigBee application standards, such as Home Automation and Light Link, use the same IEEE 802.15.4 physical and media access-control layer as the Thread protocol, it is unlikely that manufacturers will offer products that support both the ZigBee PRO mesh-networking protocol and the Thread mesh-networking protocol. "We expect a decision regarding which solution to use will be made by the product manufacturer at the time of product creation," he states, "and not by the end consumer in the field."

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